Friday, March 30, 2012


Guess what you guys?
I don't actually have a bookish birthday update here. I just wanted to tell everyone it's my birthday. Well I did decide to buy Attachments yesterday and I justified it because it's my birthday, even though I had just bought a book. So there, bookish birthday update.

Now to pad this out, here are some famous people who share my birthday.*
-Francisco Goya
-Vincent Van Gogh
-Anna Sewell
-Eric Clapton
-MC Hammer
-my Grandma (she may not famous, but she's pretty awesome)

Impressive talent to live up to. 

*If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you may notice this is the same list as last year. Because guess what, no one super famous has shown up in the last year.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our lives at the start are not really our own but only the continuation of someone else's story

Alright Thirteenth Tale, you win. I liked you. I don't know why it means you win. but that does seem accurate. Because I started this with a lot of wtf and eye rolls. But as Miss Winter says, I should probably start at the beginning

I can't remember exactly why I picked this book up. I knew it was a fairly popular book, although I can't actually remember seeing any reviews of it. I do seem to remember it was a book for book lovers and it has ghosts and secrets and "gothic strangeness" (so says the back of the book). It's a book I'm drawn to but not immediately taken with. However this copy was on a remainder table and a sale always gets me. So I picked this up. Then Alice of Reading Rambo suggested I read Turn of the Screw first so I put the book down intent on really doing this. And then months passed and I hadn't read either book. Last week I decided screw it, I'm just going to read The Thirteenth Tale without having done my homework first. (Umm Alice, my dog ate it...)

When I started the book I was very...unhappy with it. I hate the narrator. She annoyed me so much and pretty much anytime she was talking (and being the narrator it was fairly frequent) I would find my mind wandering. I'd put down the book and stare into space. You'd think it'd be easy to pay attention to a book when I'm sitting on a train and have nothing else to do but at times I was like "I could keep reading, but I think I should stare at this brick wall for awhile instead of seeing what else Margaret has to say". Luckily a lot of the book is made up of other people telling Margaret stories, so there are large chunks where she's not around at all. I loved these parts.

Quick summary: One day Margaret gets a letter from Miss Vida Winter, a famous and much loved author, asking Margaret to act as biographer. Miss Winter has always been a bit of a mystery but in her last days she's ready to tell the truth. So Margaret learns Miss Winter's history, which involves unruly twins, possible ghosts and a fire that destroyed the Angelfield estate.

Miss Winter's stories are fantastic. I was sucked into that world completely. Even when it got weird and incesty. Because it gets weird and incesty at times people. You learn about this house that is full of secrets and ghosts and a lot of very neglectful parents. You also get to hear stories from a man that grew up just outside the grand estate, an orphan who never knew his family and had been trying to untangle that mystery for years. Whenever we got these stories, things were great. Whenever Margaret showed up and spent way too long talking about sharpening pencils, I started to wander. Because seriously? Pencil sharpening? Why was there more than 1/2 a sentence about that?

While I overall enjoyed the story, there were problems with it. Little things (other than Margaret sucking) that made me stop and go "Wait, what?"

-The book talks about twins. A lot. At one point there's a description of twins and about how twins are created when a cell that's supposed to be one splits into two. Which yes, that's how identical twins are created. Not fraternal though. So you're partially right. Of course she then goes on to talk about how twins are completed and everyone else is a sad shadow of a person, incomplete, because they don't have a twin and that's why people form relationships and get married and such. Because twins never do that.

-The incesty stuff, although I suppose that's supposed to make you go "wait, what?" And it's never explicit. Merely implied.

-Some of the things Setterfield describes that are supposed to be very deep end up unintentionally hilarious. They may seem good on paper, but as soon as you try to picture someone doing this, it's all lost. For example, in Miss Winter's story the twins had been separated and are then reunited. They are so happy to be back together that they hold each other, staring into each others eyes for 24 hours. And they blink in unison. Take a second and just picture 2 people holding each other, staring into each others eyes and blinking in unison for hours on end. Takes away some of the power of that reunion doesn't it?

-Margaret is sort of obsessed with books. To the point of ridiculousness and this is coming from someone that writes a book blog and LOVES books. But at one point she talks about how she's such an inveterate reader that she can't help but traipse through this overgrowth to read a memo posted on a dilapidated house. Really? She loves reading THAT much that she MUST read this memo? Not because she's curious about the memo. It's her need to read that makes her do this. Of course this contradicts her earlier saying she doesn't read the contemporary novels that are at her father's bookstore.

It was an entertaining book. It's not the most bestest book ever. It's not the best written, there are inconsistencies and obv I hated the narrator (have I not been clear on that yet?) but I still enjoyed it. And I didn't see the twist coming so touche.

Title quote from page 58

Setterfield, Diane. The Thirteenth Tale. Washington Square Press, 2006.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bookish decorations or I'm finally unpacking

Boyfriend and I are finally getting around to unpacking. We got all of the big things unpacked, but the little things and the decorations has just sat in boxes. A lot of them are still sitting in boxes but we did manage to get some work done this weekend. Including, most importantly, getting my Gatsby poster up!
Best decoration? Yup. Actually we didn't get any pictures hung up until this one.

I also got the books unpacked! Well some of them. How have I managed NOT having my books out? Mostly by buying new ones. Because I'm a responsible adult like that. Also, I'm pretty sure the books multiplied while they were in boxes because I have several boxes of books left (and 1 giant suitcase), yet I'm out of bookcase space. Whoops. 
Nothing makes a house a home like bookshelves. Bookshelves filled with books.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yes, [the Gamemakers] have to have a victor

I just finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. First Lord of the Flies, then this. Who knew books that dealt with children killing children would be a theme for my reading this month.

Firstly, yes, I liked it. Yes, I will be reading the other books in the trilogy even though I heard they're not as good. Yes, yes, you were right internet. I was drawn in, I didn't want to put it down, I was annoyed at my commute for not being longer, which is stupid because no I don't want that. See that's what this book did. 

So here's the thing, I know there have been a thousand and one reviews of this book. And I'm sure the majority of those are better than what I would write. Instead I want to focus on where I felt cheated. Now I want to it be clear that these problems come after the fact that I still really liked the book. Also in order for me to talk about my issues, I need to bring up plot points so this will contain spoilers. If you haven't read it yet, go read it (it will take you a couple days, it's a quick read) then come back here and say "Why, yes! I completely agree! What was going on with that?" or "What are you talking about? You have no idea what you're saying". Whatever floats your boat.

My first problem is the love story that they sorta shoehorned in there. I know, people have said it makes more sense in the other books, but it doesn't make a lot of sense in this one. It feels like it was shoved in there last minute and it's hard to have a love triangle when one of the triangle points is only in the book for about 7 pages. The fashion stuff with Cinna also seemed sort of shoved in there. It bothered me less than the beginning of this love triangle, but there still seemed to be more time than made sense dedicated to describing clothes.

Those are small things compared to my major complaint. I felt cheated. We have a story that centers on this messed up government holding a fight to the death among a bunch of children. These are kids that didn't ask for this (I'll get to the Career Tributes in a minute) and are thrown into a literal kill-or-be-killed situation where one's survival is directly related to another's death. And all of this is for the entertainment of the people watching. This has the opportunity for serious moral dilemmas. Not only does it have the opportunity, it sort of requires it. But Katniss hardly killed anyone.

Now I don't mean this as a "I thirst for blood!" kind of way. I mean Katniss is thrown into a arena where her goal is to be the last one surviving and even in this situation she is hardly forced to kill. And the kills she does complete are simple. She never has to deal a difficult death. She (somewhat) indirectly causes the death of a couple unnamed tributes when she drops the tracker jacker nest on them. She shoots another unnamed tribute who had just killed her ally and friend and was about to kill her. She mercy kills Cato after he'd been mauled by the weird muttations*. But she is never in the position where she has to kill someone she cares about, like Rue or Peeta. Hell, she never even has to kill someone she admires, like Thresh or Foxface. Never. What the hell? Again, it's not that I wanted her to have to kill someone she cared for, but that is sort of the whole point of the Games and by having Katniss never have to face this it means we, the reader, never actually face up to what these Games mean. Collins may say it over and over, and have Katniss think about how awful it would be to have to kill Rue or Peeta but she never shows it. You never get the emotional impact from it. What if she had to kill Rue? How would she have dealt with that in the aftermath? Yes, it would have made the book very depressing. But you know what? If you don't want to write a depressing book, don't write a book that centers on a fight to the death among children. It was a cop out and robbed the story of what it could have been.

I also want to talk about the Career Tributes. I didn't have a problem with them and I get why they're portrayed the way they are, since you're seeing things from Katniss's point of view. But when I was thinking of this and about how the kids that are thrown into the Games against their will, there is obviously the argument that the Career Tributes do want to be there. They are blood-thirsty, deranged killers, and they are disgusting. Besides that, these are people from the wealthier districts, that never felt the hunger and pain that someone like Katniss has felt. You're supposed to dislike these kids. They band together to attack the weaker tributes, they hurt Peeta, they kill Rue, etc. But thinking of them as the enemies, almost as bad as the Capitol, is wrong. Every District has to send 2 kids to the games. The names are picked out of a hat but someone can volunteer to take a tribute's place. These Career Tributes train their whole lives for the Games. They volunteer to take the place of other people that are picked. Which means they are saving the lives of other people in their District. The families in these districts know who will be going to the Games. Their kids aren't in danger. The Careers will go. Fine, they're more ruthless than the others. And they're volunteering for something that no one should want to do. But it's not like the Districts can just not send someone, so these kids are sacrificing not only their lives (since the odds are good they won't make it) but also their childhoods, which they are going to spend training to kill other people. I hope the Career Tributes get a little credit in the other books because they have their own heartbreaking stories.

So what do you think? Did you like the love story? Am I wrong about the cheat? Would it have ruined the story if Katniss had to kill someone she cared about? Would that have made it unfit for a YA audience? What about the Career Tributes? 
Spoilers in there

*I cannot say muttations without laughing, which kind of messes up how scary these things are supposed to be.

Title quote from page 344

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic, 2008.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We each owe a death, there are no exceptions, I know that, but sometimes, oh God, the Green Mile is so long

Stephen King. Whether you love the guy or hate him, you can't deny that the guy can tell a story. I decided to re-read The Green Mile for Ben's Smooth Criminals Reading Challenge for the Prison Book category. I'm so glad I did. I know I should be branching out, reading new things, blah blah blah but no regrets with this one. I originally read this sometime after the movie came out but most of the details I remembered were from the movie.

This isn't a horror story. For those of you that stay away from King because you're afraid, this isn't a horror story. It's not a happy, rainbows and kittens. I mean, the story takes place on death row during the Depression. But there aren't demonic hotels or zombie cats or anything like that. It's the story of Paul Edgecombe, a prison guard at Cold Mountain penitentiary and John Coffey, a giant black man convicted for a brutal crime and sentenced to die. But there's something about Coffey. He doesn't seem like a killer. His first night on the E Block he asks if they leave a light on at night because he's afraid of the dark.

King sucks you into this world he's created. I didn't read this as it first came out, so I didn't read it in its serialized version. I wish I did. It would have been amazing to have the story drawn out like that, waiting to see what was going to happen in the next installment. My copy has all of the books smooshed into one, but you still have the separations for each of the books, so you can see where it would have ended. I could imagine how it would have been to have the story end and have to wait for the next part. It's not like waiting for the next book in a series, because here the story isn't done yet. You don't have the story wrap-up that you get with something like the Harry Potter books.

The story is heart breaking but it never feels manipulative. You feel these characters trapped in the situation and you get angry because it's so unfair. But it's supposed to be unfair. The Jesus references are a little heavy handed. OK, they're a lot heavy handed, but I don't remember them being so obvious. Maybe because the first time I was so enthralled with the story. This time I could take in the scenery a little bit more. But still, it wasn't enough to hurt the story. Which was wonderful and this will definitely be a book I read again.

So even if you don't like horror or aren't a King fan, give this book a try. It's worth it.

Two challenge books in a row completed! What's that? Why thank you, I am on a roll.

Title quote from page 536.

King, Stephen. The Green Mile. Pocket Books, 1996.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ralph wept for the end of innocence

Lord of the Flies, what the hell? As if I wasn't already afraid of kids. And not those children of the corn, demon kids. This is worse because these are normal kids. Little British schoolboys. Choir boys.

I hadn't read William Golding's novel before. There was a chance my freshman year of high school, but I was put in the group reading 1984*. I'm not sure which was worse. That doesn't mean that this and 1984 are bad books. They're not.  But in terms of "WTF humanity", it would be good battle. I had a very vague idea about what Lord of the Flies is about, mostly from the Simpson's episode "Das Bus". What I'm saying is I was unprepared and there was very little model UN and a lot more kids showing us the worst of what people naturally are. Upbeat and whatnot.

It's difficult to review a classic because what am I supposed to say? Hey, have you heard of this book? Oh you have? Right, of course. Well then, what'd you have for lunch? If you haven't read this before, go ahead and do that. Cos this is mostly going to be a random collection of my thoughts and will be all sorts of spoilery. Not that I actually think it matters if you already know the details of this one, but in case you care.

*Spoilers. Like I said a second ago but in case you weren't paying attention*
So the basics: these kids are stranded on a deserted island. And they are kids. The oldest are about 12, the youngest 6. The kids try to make due, they elect a chief and plan to keep a fire burning so hopefully a passing ship will see the smoke and rescue them. Look how responsible they are and there is hope! And then this quickly gives way to insanity.

A boy is burned to death (probably) and everyone is just like "nah I'm sure he's fine. Let's not worry about the fact that we never see him again." The antagonist (one of those choir boys, which makes him adorable but under normal circumstances, not frightening) gets scarily obsessed with killing a pig. Like "oh our only meas of rescue went out while I was supposed to be watching it and a ship passed by and we'll all probably die on this island. But you guys, I totally killed something! Here, we should act it out on this boy."

Things grow tense between the rational boys and the hunter/choir boys which culminates in a frenzied dance where they literally tear apart, with hands and teeth, the only good kid in the whole group. Murder. With bare hands. By a bunch of children. WTF? After that, the death of Piggy, murder by boulder, was nothing. Or at least was a lot less because what the hell, children should not be murdering each other with their bare hands. Or boulders. Children should not be murdering. We can probably leave out the qualifiers of "with their bare hands" or "with boulders".

Now there's only one non-savage boy left (our protagonist Ralph) and the rest of the boys on the island are hunting him! In an effort to find him they burn the whole forest down, because children don't understand subtlety. Luckily they're saved from starvation (cos they just burned down the forest where the fruits, nuts and pigs they eat come from) when a ship notices the conflagration and rescues the boys. He laughs when he sees the boys because he assumes they've been playing fun, not-at-all-murderous games and then gets freaked out when the kids start crying. But they're saved and go back home to probably a lot of therapy.

I knew going into this Piggy dies. I didn't know how. I didn't expect death by boulder so kudos for the surprise there, but I knew he didn't make it. So when I started the book I was thinking how Golding was going to make me super love Piggy, just to take him away. But that didn't happen. I didn't want Piggy to die, but I certainly didn't love the kid. He's And whiny. It seems mean to get angry at a child for being whiny when they're stranded on a deserted island, but I'm a cruel person apparently. I wanted the boys to be nice to Piggy, but every once in awhile I wanted someone to smack him upside the head.

The death that really got me was Simon's, he of the torn apart murder. Why do people go on about poor Piggy? What about Simon? He was so good and so innocent. He was helpful and kind to the little kids when all the big kids were being just assholes. He has his little quiet time in nature. OK, so he goes a little crazy for awhile and pictures the sow head on a stick (the Lord of the Flies) talking to him and telling him that the true horrors are inside him and all mankind. But that doesn't make him go on a murderous rampage, as I'm sure it would have driven the other boys. Instead he realizes the beast they've all been afraid of is actually a dead parachutist (which is creepy in and of itself) and he goes to tell the others they don't have to be afraid. And they kill him. They all kill him, even rational little Piggy and Ralph, even if Piggy won't admit that's what happened.
*Spoilers contained*

So there you go. This was an excellent book that crams a lot of deep thoughts and difficult questions into a simple story. I didn't go into all of the symbolism up above but it is there and people smarter than I have written about it. I'm very glad I read this so thank you Strand in NYC for having it on sale and thank you Classics Challenge for pushing me to read a classic I previously missed.
*So don't worry, I still got scarred, just by a different book.

Title quote from page 225

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. Faber Firsts, 2009. Originally published 1954.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Things get kind of circular, when you're me. Cause and effect get muddled

I'm not a fan of romances. It's nothing against them and if you like them, awesome. But love stories and rom-coms are not my thing. But I decided to give The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger a try. It's out of my comfort zone, it's by a female author (and I've really been slacking on those), and it has come highly rated from Brenna at Literary Musings and she has good taste. Plus a few people said it was much better than the movie, which I have not seen but assume it's very mushy/melodramatic. Anyway, the book was on a remainder table at my local indie bookstore so I decided to give it a try. I am happy to say it is much better than I anticipated, even if my expectations were fairly low.

This is a love story. It's not the mushy, roll-your-eyes-at-every-sentence love story, but at least know that's what you're getting. It is a love story with time travel. And now that I typed that I'm thinking something like Kate & Leopold* with someone traveling forward from the past (or the other way) and then they have a love in this fish-out-of-water situation. The time travel is what causes and gets in the way of the love story. Henry DeTamble, the time traveler of the title, can't control his time travel. It's a genetic disorder that causes him to travel through time, usually visiting himself at various points in his life. Oh also, he can't bring anything with him on this travels, so he shows up naked and starving. He learns to steal (for clothes & money) to fight (because a naked man showing up randomly is not typically a welcome sight) and to run.

He often visits his wife (or to-be wife) Clare Abshire throughout her adolescence. The love story starts for Clare when she's 6 (I know it sounds creepy, but it's not Lolita-y) and for Henry when he's 28. Or when he's 36. Time travel is usually confusing to describe. The more you think about it, the less it makes sense. Which is the way time travel always works, so as long as the basic rules make sense, you're good.

Henry and Clare each narrate parts of the book, sometimes the same scene from each perspective, sometimes not. The two have equal time in the book, although the story is really Henry's. You hear a lot from Clare's point of view, but it's always about Henry. And Henry's been in her life since she was young, so in a way this makes sense. It also explains the title in that the book is about the time traveler and his wife. Neither character is particularly fleshed out apart from the relationship, although Clare has nothing without Henry. That was my biggest problem with the book. The title is apt because this isn't really about Clare. It's about Clare as the time traveler's wife.

That said, I liked the book. This isn't a new favorite but it was much better than I expected and I'm happy I read it. It takes a different look about relationships, about the sacrifices made, the happiness and the pain. There are also some questions on fate, but what time travel story would be complete without that?

*I said I didn't really like rom-coms. I didn't say I haven't seen them...

Title quote from page 315

Niffenegger, Audrey. The Time Traveler's Wife. Harcourt, 2003.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Readers love fairy tales

I am not saying I am DNF-ing My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me. I'm not admitting defeat. I am however putting it on a indefinite hiatus. Which is extra stupid because I'm on page 501 out of 536. But I just can't do it.

I love fairy tales. I know I'm not alone in this. You know, obviously, given the title quote. So when I saw this book I got excited. New fairy tales? Please, continue. OK, they're not all new. They're all inspired by an established fairy tale. Some I know well ("The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen) and some that are completely new to me ("The White Cat" by Madame d'Aulnoy). The stories were collected by Kate Bernheimer and include works by Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Aimee Bender and a plethora of authors that I'd never heard of.

I had a brief Twitter conversation with Ellen from Fat Books & Thin Women and Ben from Dead End Follies about short story collections. If there's some consistency in the stories, it's easier to get through, be it a similar topic, a similar writing style or both. This collection has a similar theme but by very different authors. The styles are very different, their treatment of the fairy tales very different. This means that some of the stories are great, some are no fun and most are meh. Or at least the most that I made it through.

I always have trouble reviewing a collection of short stories, and even though in this case I'm not done with the book, I thought I'd write about what I made it through. Because I feel like I haven't written anything in awhile and I'm not letting this book defeat me like that. If the last stories turn out to be the most amazing thing ever, I'll make sure to note that. But for now all I can say is there wasn't enough I liked to make this collection work for me.

The best thing to come out of it is the story by Neil Gaiman. I know I named some authors up above but I should point out I hadn't actually read anything by them before. I'd heard of them because of all the lovely book bloggers that have read them. Now I have their short fairy tale stories and reading Gaiman's makes me want to read more by him. His was a take on the Odyssey (which I feel is a lenient use of the term "fairy tale") but I don't really see the actual connection between Gaiman's version and the Greek epic (so it's a lenient use of The Odyssey).  However, I didn't even care. It's a strange story and involves a substance mistaken for fake tanner and aliens and it's told as a series of answers to questions you don't get to read.

Good parts: Neil Gaiman's story. Bad parts: the boring stories which outnumbered the awesome ones.

Title quote from xvii

Bernheimer, Kate (ed). My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales. Penguin Books, 2010.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How do you find the time to read?

It's Literary Blog hop time, hosted by The Blue Bookcase. This month they ask:

How do you find time to read? What's you're reading style? Where do you think reading literature should rank in society's priorities?

First up, how do you find time to read? 
Since graduating college the majority of my reading has happened on public transportation. Commuting is not my favorite thing but at least it gives me a nice, (mostly) uninterrupted stretch of reading time. Plus a good book is a wonderful way to pretend I'm not squished between people of questionable hygiene in some metal tube. When I wasn't regularly commuting I had to work harder to find time to read, but that just meant reading instead of watching TV or playing on the internet or whatever else I could be doing. But I don't force myself to read. I don't want it to be a chore and if I'm not in the mood, I don't beat myself up over it.

What's your reading style? 
Umm left to right, typically.
If C-C at the Blue Bookcase hadn't already answered, I probably would have left my response at that cos I wasn't really sure what it's asking. I'm still not entirely sure. I don't like to write in books so I'm not making notes or underlining passages. At least not in physical books. I underline in my Kindle. I read for enjoyment, so I'm not normally reading something with a certain criticism style in mind or investigating every detail for a hidden meaning. I majored in English so I think I may just do some of that because it's what I spent all that time training to do, but it's not a conscious decision before picking up a book. It doesn't mean I'm just reading to escape, or I won't give deeper thought to things. It's just not my primary intention.

Where do you think reading literature should rank in society's priorities?
This is an odd question. Are we counting things like stable economy, effective government, etc as part of society's priorities? Cos if so, while I LOVE reading, it's going to come near the bottom of that list. I want to make sure I'm alive and well and safe enough to do all that reading I want to do. However, if we're talking about our society's (and I mean the society of people who have an internet connection, the times, the means, the resources to read a book blog) entertainment priorities, then I think reading literature is up there. I love reading because it lets me look at the world in so many different ways, from so many different point of views and I think seeing the world in different ways is important for the individual and for society as a whole. Or else you grow stagnant and boring. And while I may enjoy some realty TV (damn you Hoarders), reading is still a priority. Which is why I normally read WHILE watching Hoarders. Multitasking, people.

So what do you think? How do you find time to read? What's your reading style? Where does reading lit fall in terms of society's priorities?

Monday, March 5, 2012

February Reading Wrap-Up

This month has been pretty nuts for me, in a good way. Previously I was working from home. Now I'm working in our office 3 days a week (my work has been super awesome letting me stay home a couple days, thanks to the crazy high commuting costs and the fact that all my work can be done as long as I have a phone and internet access). Yeah, the commute is long, BUT I now have lots of reading time.

ALSO, before I get to the stats, it's Boyfriend's birthday today! I have a habit of missing birthdays. A lot.* But not this time! Happy Birthday, Boyfriend! I remembered!

Now, stats

Number of books read
The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
All Her Father's Guns by James Warner
How To Be Black by Baratunde Thurston
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Total pages read

Percentage of fiction read

Percentage of female authors
0%, again. OK, this is pathetic. I know it

Percentage of white authors
80% - slightly better than last month. Just barely. And pathetic considering it was Black History Month

Percentage of US authors

Percentage of ebooks

Percentage of re-reads

Percentage of challenge books
0% - I was planning on something for a challenge but it just didn't work out.

Books written by decade
2000s - 40%
2010s - 60%
I should probably try to read something older than me. Or at least that was written before I graduated from high school.

I will do better in March! Well stats-wise anyway. In terms of book awesomeness, I want to everyone and their mother to read How To Be Black and Zeitoun. And at least everyone should read some Fforde, even if you can't get the parental figures to do pick it up. Although they should read him too.

*I KNOW when his birthday is. I just don't always remember what day of the week/month it is. Instead of knowing what day it is, I've chosen to memorize the such culturally important things like obscure Simpsons characters and the full script to the made-for-tv biography called In Search of Dr. Seuss. But yeah, I've missed his birthday more times than I've remembered it, as he (very rightfully) reminds me.